After Care

Root Canal Therapy


It is not uncommon for your tooth to feel uncomfortable or to have a dull ache immediately after root canal therapy. Expect this discomfort to subside within a few days, although in some cases, it may last longer.

Your tooth may feel sensitive when biting and or even feel loose. This sensitivity comes from the nerve endings near the end of the root of your tooth where we cleaned, irrigated, and placed filler and sealer material. This sensitivity will be short-lived.

You may feel a depression or rough area on the top (biting surface) of your tooth where the access to the nerve was made. There is a soft temporary material in that area that may wear away to some degree before your next visit for the crown.

The gums around the tooth may be sore and red for several days after a root canal. This is usually due to the clamp that was used to hold the rubber dam in place and will subside in a few days.


We recommend you take something for pain relief within one hour of leaving our office unless otherwise directed by Dr. Beck. This allows the medication to get into your system before the anesthesia wears off. Generally, only one dose is needed. We recommend Advil or Motrin to be used as directed on the bottle. Depending on how involved your case is, Dr. Beck may prescribe stronger pain medication.

Tylenol is an alternative, however, it seems to not work as well as other medicines. We do not recommend using aspirin or aspirin-containing medicines as they tend to cause bleeding and stomach upset.

Whenever possible, try to chew on the opposite side of your mouth that we have just treated until you have a final restoration placed. Until this time, your tooth is weakened and could fracture which could require an extraction.


– you are experiencing symptoms more intense or of longer duration than those described above
– you encounter swelling
– the temporary material is dislodged, feels loose, or feels “high” when you bite
– your tooth fractures
– you have any questions at all!


Please review our oral surgery consent form before your visit. (Click here for link to form)


Take your prescribed pain medication as soon as possible before the anesthetic begins to wear off. Take this medicine with food, if possible, to prevent stomach upset.

Today eat soft foods only. It is very important to maintain good nutrition for proper healing. DO NOT SPIT, SUCK THROUGH A STRAW OR RINSE VIGOROUSLY TODAY. Doing any of these may dislodge the blood clot and cause a “dry socket”. You can rinse gently with warm salt water (place ¼ tsp of salt into 8 oz of warm water) starting 24 hours after your surgery.

NO SMOKING for at least 48 hours after surgery. Smoking is the leading cause of “dry socket” after oral surgery.

If you have been prescribed antibiotics be sure and take all the pills as directed on the bottle. If you develop any adverse reaction to this or any other medicine prescribed by Dr. Beck stop taking it immediately and call Dr. Beck. If you develop a skin rash or have difficulty breathing stop taking the medicine immediately and call 911 as you are having a serious life-threatening emergency.

Occasionally a small bony fragment may work up through the gum tissue during healing. Do not be alarmed as this is not unusual. If it becomes irritated or painful, please contact our office.

After more extensive surgery (such as multiple extractions or impacted wisdom teeth) swelling usually occurs. To help reduce the swelling place an ice pack over the area where the surgery was performed for 10 minutes and 10 minutes off.
Do this over the first several hours following surgery.


Scaling and Root Planing

It is normal for your gums to feel tender. We strongly recommend rinsing twice daily for two days with warm salt water to speed up the healing and reduce tenderness. Dissolve ¼ tsp salt in 8 oz of warm water. Take 2-3 200 mg tablets of ibuprofen (motrin) every 4 hours as needed for discomfort and anti-inflammatory effect.

It is normal for your teeth to be sensitive to cold and hot foods or liquids after deep cleaning. Should this become problematic, try using toothpaste for sensitive teeth. If your sensitivity continues, please call our office.

For 2 days after your deep cleaning avoid any small hard foods that might get caught under the gum tissue. Examples include popcorn, nuts, and seeds (poppy seeds, strawberry jam, etc.). It is unlikely, yet it is possible, to develop a gum abscess if these foods are caught under the tissue. As the gums heal they tighten up trapping these foods.

It is very important to continue through homecare; brushing & flossing to remove plaque. Leaving plaque on the teeth will slow healing and greatly minimize the benefits of treatment.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call us!


Please avoid chewing excessively hard foods on the crowned teeth or the bridge (such as candy, ice, and raw carrots).

If you’ve been fitted with your temporary and not your final restoration, please avoid sticky foods. Also, be careful when flossing not to pop off the temporary. You should floss by pulling the floss sideways rather than back up.

Don’t worry about mild sensitivity to hot or cold or sweets. Most of the time this will disappear over a few week's time. Please call us if the sensitivity does not go away as that may be an indication of a problem with the nerve or root of the tooth.

If your bite does not feel right, if you notice a sensitivity to pressure or temperature that lasts for several weeks, please contact your South Portland dentist, Oregon Dr. Todd beck today.

Maintain your regular preventative care. It’s critical for keeping your new restorations healthy!